Chicken Fajitas

The BEST chicken fajitas! Marinated chicken breasts seared quickly and served with seared onions and bell peppers, and flour tortillas.

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola, safflower, peanut or grapeseed oil (a high smoke point oil)
  • 1 large onion, sliced lengthwise (root to tip) into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 bell peppers of various colors, sliced into 1/4-inch strips


  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • 8-12 flour tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed lightly with salt and cider vinegar


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1 Cut thick chicken breasts in half, horizontally: Chicken breasts come in different sizes. If you have chicken breasts that are around a half pound each or more, you will want to slice them in half horizontally, so that the center thickness is around 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. (We do not recommend pounding the chicken breasts, doing so will not result in the right texture/consistency for fajitas.)

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2 Marinate chicken: Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a glass or plastic container. Add the chicken, mix well, cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or up to 8 hours in the fridge.

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3 Wipe off most marinade, sprinkle chicken with salt: Remove the chicken from the marinade. Wipe off most of the marinade and sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt.

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4 Sear chicken on high heat: Heat a large cast iron frying pan on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of canola oil (or other high smoke point oil) to the pan.

As soon as the oil begins to smoke, lay the chicken breast pieces in the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, and if you have had to cut the chicken breasts, you may have to work in batches.

Let the chicken cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, until you have a good sear. Once seared well on one side, turn the pieces over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until well seared on the second side.

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5 Stack seared breasts, cover with foil and let rest: Once seared on the second side, remove to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to rest for 5 minutes.

Here's a tip: Stack the seared chicken breasts and then cover them in foil. Together they will retain heat better as you cook the peppers and onions.

If you want to test for doneness, cut into one piece with the tip of a sharp knife. It should be just done, if not, you can put it back in the hot pan for a minute or two.

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6 Sauté peppers and onions: While the chicken is resting, cook the onions and peppers. Add another tablespoon of oil to the frying pan. Heat on high. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers to the pan.

Use a metal spatula to scrape up some of the browned bits from the chicken and stir to coat the onions and peppers with the oil and brown bits. Spread the onions and peppers in an even layer in the pan.

Let them cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. You want them to sear with some blackening. Stir the vegetables and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.


7 Slice the chicken and serve: Slice the chicken across the grain into strips. Serve at once with the peppers and onions, some warm tortillas, and sides of shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, and/or thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed with vinegar and salt.

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  • Natalie Schwab

    That marinade looks SO good. I’d finish them off with a little spicy sour cream, and a grilled chocolate sandwich for dessert! Oh how I love summer food.

    • gh

      Wife quote “Those are some of the best fajitas I have ever had, and I am full but I am going to have another one.”

  • Aria

    LOVE fajitas….despise peppers. This has always been an issue. Any suggestion as to some good veggies that could be included in place of the peppers?

    I would just skip them. I love the fajitas just with the onions. ~Elise

    • Betty Thomason

      I would try sliced zucchini if didn’t like the bell pepper.

    • Elle

      I don’t like peppers either. I use onions and fresh mushrooms to substitute.

    • Corinne

      This may sound weird but I would suggest fresh green beans! Yum!

    • KirbyR

      Chayote is an excellent substitute. Just peel and slice into 1/2″ x 1/2″ strips and grill like you would the peppers. I use both.

    • d

      have you tried bbq grilled peppers? they have a different flavor than the pan fried ones.

  • Nancy Long

    I make fajitas and tacos fairly often and will def try your marinade the next time. Always have to make hubby some guacamole to go along with.

  • Diana Hedin

    I just wanted to let you know that “faja”means girdle, corset or sash (wrapped around waist). (Small) strip refers to property or to a “large” belt.

    Yes, and this girdle is the flank cut of beef, based on its location on the steer, which is why the fajitas are so named. ~Elise

  • FLPat

    I have a couple of those serving plates. They are made by Lodge Cast Iron and guess what? We use them to keep fajita meat and veg warm when we’re eating. So far that’s been their only use.

  • Hotly Spiced

    What a great recipe. I can see this would work really well as a family meal. Great flavours.

  • Chris

    You have a habit of posting recipes that are somehow already on my mind. I literally just clicked over from the wikipedia page on fajitas (I made steak tacos last night and was wondering what the difference was) thinking you have probably have a great recipe for them, and you do. On the front page. I salute your prescience as well as your culinary excellence.

  • Phil

    Elise – You might not want to publish this – My daughter-in-law told me she nearly died when she heard an elderly woman at a nearby table in a restaurant order, “chicken vagin*s.” Now, whenever I hear the word “fajita,” that’s what immediately comes to mind.

    That’s hilarious! ~Elise

  • Gayle

    I love fajitas too, I’m a vegetarian, so I use
    tofu chicken or beef strips and all the onions
    & peppers I want. I will try your marinade the
    next time.

  • David Ross

    The recipe looks excellent, and I plan to try it out. I only have one quibble, with the explanation of the term _fajitas_. As your article rightly notes, the term _fajitas_ refers to a specific cut of beef. The regrettable proliferation (in the US only) of names like “chicken fajitas” or even “shrimp fajitas” misrepresents this delicious Mexican food. It’s a little like referring to chicken or shrimp pork chops.

  • Tim

    The vinegar was a huge blunder! Thought it was strange to use it but I figured, what the heck…..something new. I would recommend leaving it off and go traditional fajitas

    There is no vinegar in the marinade for the chicken. I do recommend that you lightly dress the thinly sliced iceberg lettuce that may accompany fajitas with vinegar and salt. ~Elise

  • godwinkr

    I sometimes do fajitas with all of the extra veggies I may have accumulated in the fridge–spiced zucchini & summer squash are some of my wonderful regulars with the onions (I’ll use big sweet onions when they are in season), and I bet one could also do sliced mushrooms, sweet potato, julienned carrots, broccoli, or really anything. Just adjust the timings for the different hardnesses of the veggies (or blanch beforehand).

  • Lisa_S

    Throw away all of those containers of “fajita seasoning” because they all suck. THIS is the recipe you want for home made fajitas without the restaurant price! I can’t wait to do skirt steak and shrimps next time.

  • Kate

    Aria, instead of peppers, give summer squash and/or large tomatoes a shot. You can still achieve a nice char on the squash, and the tomatoes introduce a nice bit of acidity, similar to the peppers you dislike.

  • Iris C.

    Great recipe!
    One more dish for our next family gathering!

  • Katy Belle

    Made this tonight! Delicious! Wish we had leftovers…but the boys practically licked the serving plate!

  • lesterk

    I made these on Tuesday. Fantastic. I brought leftovers to lunch today, even better. The chicken is moist. The veggies are so flavorful. After we finished eating, while the pan was still hot, I had to cut up a whole extra onion to cook in the cast iron skillet, because the onions were so good. I was kind of afraid of using the skillet but it was easy and added an amazing amount of extra flavor.

  • Damon Dickson

    What a great dinner this was for our picnic get together we had at our park in Boise

    Great flavor from the marinade

  • Maggie C.

    Omg! Just made this for tonight’s dinner and it was great. Served it on a bed of lettuce with pico de gallo to keep the calories low. Elise, your recipes are awesome! Keep em coming.

    So glad you liked them! ~Elise

  • Jessi

    I made this tonight and it was a big hit! I only had a green bell pepper and half a yellow bell pepper so I sliced a few mushrooms and added those as well. YUM! This is a keeper recipe. My 2 year old loved it too! (I left out the jalapeno so it wasn’t spicy)

    I’ve never made fajitas before but we always order them when we go out for Mexican. Now we can have it at home! (and its so much healthier!!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  • Mark L.

    Aria, if your issue is with bell peppers (I dislike them as well) you can sub with poblano chiles. That’s what I do for any recipe calling for bell peppers. Char them first to remove the skin.

    Great idea! You could also use anaheim chiles. ~Elise

  • Madu Jayasena

    It’s really tastfull not only eat but also preparing thank you for your marvollous idea.

  • Ashley

    This is just fabulous….better than authentic Mexican recipes !!

    One question though….I like to prep dinner during my daughters naps and just wondering if I can prep the marinade ahead of time? I wasn’t sure about refrigerating the marinade only. I never refrigerate oil, but wasn’t sure if I need to refrigerate the marinade because of the lime & cilantro ?

    Thanks for making food worth eating !!!

    Hi Ashley, you mean do you need to refrigerate the marinade? Not if we are only talking a few hours. ~Elise

  • Jen

    I tried these fajitas tonight and everybody loved them! Very easy to make and I prepared everything on the grill outside. The chicken had so much flavor. This is my new favorite marinade for chicken. This marinade is great for serving grilled chicken even without the fajitas. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Hope J.

    I tried this a few days ago and it was just amazing! I shared some with my daughter, who heated it at work, and the staff all had to taste it. I am now making it again – for my granddaughters and myself. Thank you so much – the marinade is wonderful – and the chicken turns out so moist and tender. Awesome!!!

  • Ravi

    Great recipe! To Aria, who hates peppers, try zucchini and yellow squash cut in long strips, about same size as french fries. They are great when grilled or pan seared!

  • fabiola

    I absolutely love the dish at the end of the post,and the photo for that matter too! Where did you get it? It makes me want the fajitas so bad! I love making them when time is a factor, and they are healthy too. Thanks for the reminder.

    The fajita serving plate? Oddly I found it at World Market. ~Elise

  • chi

    I made this yesterday but experimented with a romaine lettuce wrap for myself. It’s was so good, my friend who is a picky eater, literally scraped the plate. A definite winner!

  • Kathy

    I’m going to make these for our annual softball party but I want to play ball! Can I grill the meat ahead of time and let it sit a few hours? Or is everything best done at the last minute?

  • Ann

    Delicious!! What a great recipe
    Best Chicken Fajitas I’ve ever made

  • Jane H

    Years ago, I spent the summer in Santa Fe. The friend I was staying with found a fajita marinade recipe that was associated with Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe. It was incredible, and I have tried to replicate it for 20 years now.

    It had red wine (or red wine vinegar?), worcestershire sauce, lime juice, peppercorns, garlic…and I have no idea what else, but it was sooo good it changed my life!

    That being said, the inclusion of lime juice in your marinade takes on the role of the acidic…which we love! We grill our meat and veggies (in a grill pan) and the flavor is incredible.

    Thanks for the alternative! And if anyone knows of that Mark Miller recipe….please share!

  • Matt

    These were excellent. They are easy to prep and go together very quickly. I love the simple marinade and technique. My wife said they were the best she’s had.
    I grew up with and have always used stainless steel cookware. I am now in mid-life and have spent the past year or so feeling cheated that I just now am learning the wonders of cast iron. You can’t make fajitas properly without it.

  • Lora

    Hands down the best fajitas I’ve ever had – and I’ve had a LOT of fajitas….

  • Stacey

    Made the recipe exactly as written, so so good ! It’s a keeper

  • Maili

    These fajitas are absolutely delicious. I didn’t even marinate them as long as listed (I didn’t read the recipe beforehand) so they got about a half hour, but it still turned out amazing. And so simple!

  • AK

    The fajitas are very good from this recipe. What authentic toppings might also be served with fajitas? I like homemade HOT salsa, sour cream (or plain yogurt), and guacamole. Any other suggestions?

  • Cinn Jenn

    DELICIOUS!! My family threatened me that I better not ever lose this recipe. Thanks for posting it. YUM!

  • Ali

    Restaurant quality fajitas if not better!

  • Laura

    I made these tonight and they were a hit with my whole family, ages 1-38. Even the “spice” averse kids loved the marinated chicken (I omitted the jalapeño), and my husband said this is only chicken he’s every really LOVED.

    Thank you so much! This is going in my regular rotation for sure!

  • Alessandra

    Just to let you know. I have made this Fajitas several times and you are right, quick and great! Everyone loves them. Just one thing, and this is for everyone’s health. Canola Oil doesn’t reach a high smoking point, actually among the ones you have mentioned as high heat resistent ones, Canola has indeed the lowest smoking point. Fun enough, the highest smoking point vegetable oil is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Smoking point for EVOO is 220°Celsius, Canola reaches 160°. Friying temperatures should be 180°, you do the calculation. Also, when Oil starts to smoke IT HAS reached that point already. This story has been perpetrated for years, A “scientific study” and I use this word loosely, in the late 60es said that Canola Oil was better than any other oil for cooking, this study was promoted by the Canola oil’s producers to defend their maket niche. Do not believe me, search it out.
    Thank you anyway for the great recipes, they are WINNER!

  • Crystal

    I’m not a fan of cilantro I’m not sure if that makes the dish or not. I didn’t add any and I feel that the chicken tastes bland is there something else I could of used?

    • Elise

      Pickled red onions will perk it up. You can make quick pickles yourself by thinly slicing red onions and covering them in a solution of half seasoned rice vinegar and half water. Let sit for several hours or chill for up to a week.

  • Eva

    I love this recipe! The marinade for chicken is the best! :)

  • Kelby

    Just tried the recipe for the first time it was great. My wife said it was better than chili’s. I will be fixing these again.

  • Bekah

    Is it necessary to have a cast-iron skillet? I, sadly, do not have one. What can be used in its place?

    • Elise

      You need a pan that can get very hot without getting damaged. Cast iron is best. You can also use hard anodized aluminum which can handle the heat and are also relatively stick-free.

      • Kostagh

        I’d recomend a stainless steel skillet instead. I’ve been using one with great results. However, I do obtain best results using a cast iron skillet. I hate aluminium cookware and NEVER use them. They also say that aluminium may be involved in Alzheimers so…. I prefer not to take chances.

        • Elise

          Hello Kostagh, “hard anodized aluminum” is not the same as regular aluminum. The aluminium is bound and non-reactive, so anodized aluminum pans are perfectly safe to use, and they have the added bonus of being relatively stick-free and able to take very high heat. I agree about regular old aluminum pans. We threw ours out years ago.

  • Susan

    Wow are these good! My 16 y/o son loved them! Living in Houston, we eat a lot of Mexican food. These are right up there with some of the best fajitas we’ve had. Love the marinade.

  • Deebi27

    I found this on Pinterest days ago and made it tonight. It was awesome! My husband said, it drives him crazy when I am gathering ingredients, but when I go a cooking a dinner like this, it makes the time in the grocery store SOOO worth it! Next time I will try your beef fajitas!! Thank you for a winning dish for dinner!!!

  • Xander

    I made this tonight and my partner went crazy over it. In the two years we’ve been together this is one of a handful of recipes that he’s demanded be put into rotation after one bite. When I made it, I sliced a jalapeño in with the peppers and onion (we like the heat) then squeezed the juice of a lime over the veggies to add a little flavor to them before searing. I sliced the chicken then threw it back in my 12-inch skillet to serve with only tortillas, sour cream, guacamole, and a bottle of wine and everything was fantastic. It was so quick and easy to throw together I will definitely be using it as a go-to. Thank you for sharing this.

  • June

    Thanks for this recipe. Had them this evening and they were great. All the other recipes were too heavy on the cumin and chili powder. I may even cut it back a little bit. Is there an easier way to wipe the marinade off the chicken?

  • Coline

    This fajita recipe is FANTASTIC! So authentic and better than any restaurant. Because I don’t like too much heat an prefer a milder taste, I substituted the jalapenos with pablanos. Paired the dish with a homemade salsa and Mexican rice. Thanks for this recipe!

  • Becky

    Just came across this recipe and it was absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing, will definitely make again!

  • Jeet Bains

    Absolutely delicious recipe, it actually turned out better than a lot of stuff that I’ve seen in cookbooks. I’m not a fan of bell peppers, but I like some of your other recommendations. Thanks for sharing as always.

  • Marilyn

    It came out really well. It’s a keeper.

  • Maggie

    Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Does anyone know if I can use a cast iron pan on a glass cooktop? I only have stainless steel pans. Thanks in advance.

    • Elise

      Hi Maggie, most glass tops I know about do not allow you to use cast iron pans. To be safe, in your situation I would use your stainless steel.

  • Marl

    Corn ‘fajitas’ work as well…..great marinade, thanks….

  • Shirley

    I made this for dinner tonight and they were awesome! Although I didn’t marinade the chicken, they came out great. I just put in the ingredients that was said for marinating them and they were fantastic. When you 19 year old son says that they’re so good that he didn’t want to quite eating them but, he had to because he was so full. My husband loved them as well. So I’d say it’s a “winner,winner chicken dinner.” Ha ha Then only reason I didn’t marinate the chicken is that I ran out of time to do so after coming home from the grocery store. But hey, they were still fantastic, simple and fast to make. Will be making this again for sure.

    • Shirley

      I guess I should have proof read my comment wa….y better. ;) I also wanted to add that I used avocado oil instead. I followed the recipe by just adding all the ingredients that were listed.
      Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. I was a great meal and was so happy that my guys loved it so much.

      • Elise

        You’re welcome Shirley! I’m delighted that the recipe was such a hit with your family. :-)

  • Tracy Marsden

    I made this recipe last night. The only thing I changed was I used pork because I had a lot on hand. Holy cow this is the best fajitas I have ever tasted!!! I grilled the meat and vegies. The marinade was superb!! Best of all my 3 year old granddaughter who is super picky about meat and one and a half fajitas!! She had them with the vegies and all. I have been told by my family I need to make these at least twice a month if not more!!! Thanks so much Elise!!!

  • Sherry

    Came out gr8

  • Stacey Christo

    This marinade is amazing! I made it twice so far for fajitas but you can eat this chicken by itself it’s so delicious! I ate half a chicken breast just while I was slicing for the fajitas
    Thank you so much for a keeper recipe

  • Robin

    What a wonderful cook you are. God bless you for contributing such very excellent food. Thank you.

  • peggy

    We were looking for a last minute recipe, made the marinade then realized we didn’t have the vegeys or the tortillas!!!! We ended up marinating the chicken anyway and my husband barbequed them on the Weber! Wow, delicious. Next time we will be prepared for the whole recipe!

  • Kostagh

    You might care to try mushrooms, cucumbers or zuchinis… or even potato cut as for french fries, thin and long. Though… I personally LOVE peppers! The flavor of long pimiento peppers is particularly excellent with this dish! Mmmm! Glorious!

  • Rizza Frankenberger

    Hi.. I would definitely try this recipe. However, limes here in the Philippines are quite rare or in season only so instead of lime can i use lemon for the marinade? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

    • Elise

      Hi Rizza, sure you can use lemon instead!

      • Riz

        Hi elise thank you for your reply. Are there also any alternative for cilantro? Or can it be optional for the marinade? Thanks alot!

        • Elise

          Hi Riz, you can just leave out the cilantro if you want. Many people don’t like cilantro and it’s easy enough to omit.

  • Rizza Frankenberger

    Hi elise! Thank you for your reply. Last question if you dont mind, is there any alternative for cilantro? Could it be an optional ingredient for the marinade? Thanks alot.

  • Jess

    This is an amazing marinade!!! It’s by far the best we’ve come across and one that we utilize nearly every week. We use the chicken in burrito bowls with black beans, lettuce, cheese and other various toppings and it always results in a delicious meal. Thank you for this gem!!

  • Gail

    Delicious! Excellent recipe. I am trying steak next time. Thanks.

  • crystal


  • Bob

    Holy crap, i can’t believe how well these turned out. Had no cumin, so used cayenne, and dried flakes instead of fresh jalapeno, did not have cilantro either. I will never buy a boxed kit or seasoning pack again

  • Angela

    Can the raw ingredients be frozen separately and combined to cook after thawing? I’m making freezer meals for a friend.

  • Regina Richardson

    I didn’t see where I could add stars but it’s five big bright stars from me. I’m happy that I chose your chicken fajitas recipe to make. My finicky fiancee, who rarely comments on anything, that I cook for him, though always choose recipes with 4 & 1/2 – 5 stars, said twice how much he loved these. I’ll be hanging onto your recipe and making this again and again.

  • Cindy Harris

    A wonderful restaurant in my hometown serves lamb fajitas with grilled onions and tomatoes – no bell pepper. You might try that.
    Also, I have found that if I limit the bell peppers to red only, the flavor is not as strong as when the green are included and I enjoy the mixture of flavors much more. I completely understand not liking the bell peppers since the green ones tend to make everything else taste like green peppers!

  • Gabriela Amezcua

    Finger licking good!!! Whole family enjoyed. Thx!!!

  • Lisa

    What do you think about freezing the chicken in the marinade for easier meal later in the week?

  • Jennifer

    Who needs a recipe for chicken fajitas? I sure thought I didn’t.

    I only looked up ‘chicken fajitas’ online to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, prior to going to the store. I saw this recipe, looked it over, and was intrigued by the marinade – I hadn’t thought to do that before. So i ended up following this recipe verbatim, and they were to die for! I will never make chicken fajitas any other way.

    Thank you for this fantastic recipe!

  • Tracy Fletcher

    This recipe is awesome and very easy to make! My family said it was as good as our favorite Mexican restaurant.

  • Scott

    Not sure what I did wrong, but I nearly burned the house down. I used a cast iron skillet on high with canola oil. But the smoke was horrible and the pan caught on fire.

  • Lisette

    I want to try this recipe but can I omit the chili powder and jalapeno? My husband reacts to some spicy stuff but he loves fajitas..

    • Elise

      Hi Lisette, sure, you can make it without the chili powder and jalapeno. You might want to double up on the cumin if you do so.

  • Melissa

    Hi how are you was just wondering does this come out spicy? I’d like to make it tonite buy cannot eat anything spicy…thanks

    • Elise

      Hi Melissa, just leave out (or greatly reduce) the chili powder and the jalapeno and you’ll be fine.

  • Lauren

    Hello! I made this before and it was delicious–thank you! I want to make it again for company. I developed quite a bit of smoke in the house when I made it. Do you think I could make it ahead of time and keep it warm in a crockpot? Would that change the flavor/texture and dry it out? Thanks!

  • Cintia L.

    Hello, this recipe looks awesome on pinterest, and I finally tried it. I have to say, the marinade is simple yet delicious. The chicken was very moisten and tasty thanks to the instruction to let it cook UNDISTURBED for 2-3 minutes, and also to stack them while resting.
    Unfortunately, my onions were a little overcooked. Next time, I’ll add the onions after the peppers begin to cook.
    Great recipe. Thank you!

  • Ariel

    Made this tonight and my boyfriend said it was “fire”, which means incredible to him! It was so simple and delicious. Stacking the chicken to rest in tin foil is genius. We are definitely adding this to our weekly rotation!!

  • Kristi

    I made this tonight. It was the best fajita marinade I have ever made!!

  • David J.

    The Best!!
    I do prefer boneless skinless thighs vice breast meat..